Masks of Death

Event status:

Ned Kelly Deathmask La Trobe University’s Marc Trabsky explores the history of the death mask in art, law and medicine

Thursday 19 November 2020 06:00 pm until Thursday 19 November 2020 07:00 pm (Add to calendar)
La Trobe Art Institute
5444 7272;
Presented by:
La Trobe Art Institute
Type of Event:
Community Event; Public Lecture
no charge

Representations of the corpse have transfixed society since antiquity. Whether in portraiture or vanitas, secular relics or memento mori, the dead can only appear through their image. This lecture explores the history of the death mask in art, law and medicine. The mask has played an important role in enabling the dead to appear and speak to the living. Its history provides a useful starting point for unravelling how conflicts between the disciplines of art, medicine and law have shaped an inventory of techniques for representing the dead. In a world where the mask has become an important symbol of life, the death mask reminds us that the dead never disappear when they pass away. Whether they are memorialised in art or linger in empty spaces, the dead always remain at work.

Dr Marc Trabsky is a senior lecturer at La Trobe Law School and Director of the Centre for Health, Law and Society, La Trobe University. His research examines the theoretical, historical and institutional arrangements of law and death. His first book, Law and the dead: technology, relations and institutions (Routledge, 2019), was awarded the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Book Prize for 2019.

Bookings not required – live on Zoom:

Image: Ned Kelly’s death mask, 1880. National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Old Melbourne Gaol Collection. Courtesy National Trust of Australia (Victoria)



3rd Aug 2021 9:21pm

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